Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Worn out plants and fresh new starts

There will be a heat index of 101 degrees F today, and all that is coming out of the garden are figs, a few tomatoes, and one last squash. Any vegetable plants remaining from the first summer planting, such as these sungold tomatoes, are looking sad, even though they may still be producing a fruit here and there. By comparison, look at the bed of string beans and zucchini squash planted a few weeks back. Remember when this bed was filled with kale left over from the spring? I ripped them out and put in some leftover seed, and this is the result. They are beautiful; a great example of why it sometimes is just time to pull up the old, tired vegetable plants and begin a new cycle. Now, if I had planned better, there would also be a bed ready to harvest right now, in between the early, early summer plants and this late summer planting. Those tomatoes are next to go, as I need to amend the soil in that bed a bit, and it soon will be time to plant the fall garden.

Look at the strawberry bed I planted late last winter! The plants have expanded to more than fill every inch of space, and you can see the new, reddish runners trying to sneak baby plants out into the lawn. I did not expect this much growth, so will need to really open up the bed in a few months by removing about half the plants, if not more. I will shoot for removing the mother plants, and leaving they new young plants for next year's production. The ones I remove probably will go into a front yard border, or to friends in need of berry plants. There should be a great harvest next spring from these healthy, perennial plants.

I took one photo today through the egg door of the chicken coop. It was so funny to see Pauline (black), Hilda (dark red), and Lousie (light red) come hopping up to see what I was doing. I am getting anywhere from 1 to 3 eggs a day now from the 4 hens. Not amazing production, but more than we can eat so I am fine with it. I don't think that Hilda has been laying for awhile now. She had lost some feathers and then went so long without replacing them. Then she laid one egg without a shell (it happens sometimes). Since then, nothing. She seems strong and healthy now, and all her feathers are returning, so we will see. They love this time of year, with all the watermelon rinds they can eat. We are lucky that their coop is in a shady area, and in a place that tends to get a breeze.